** The irony in Richard Jewell, the latest based-on-a-true-story film from Clint Eastwood, is that it's about the media and the government tarnishing an innocent man's name, and then proceeds to tarnish an innocent woman's. The facts of the story are simple: Richard Jewell worked as a security guard at the 1996 Olympic Games, found a bomb, was hailed as a hero, then became the FBI's prime suspect for no good reason. So far so good. Jewell, as written by Billy Ray and played by Paul Walter Hauser, is a Paul Blart rent-a-cop who eats junk food and devours praise. But Eastwood alters history to fit his agenda. Kathy Scruggs (Olivia Wilde), the late reporter who broke the story in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution naming Jewell the FBI's foremost suspect, is inaccurately portrayed as a callous newshound who traded sex for scoops. There is no evidence this happened, and it didn't need to happen in an otherwise explosive movie. Eastwood keeps audiences on edge with his minimalist style, while his clever visual theme of reds, whites and blues crops up in the background of every frame. Hauser, Sam Rockwell as Jewell's attorney, and Kathy Bates, playing his mother, are solid as well. Still, without an honest script, this historical drama can't help but feel artificial. R. ASHER LUBERTO. Dine-In Progress Ridge 13, Mill Plain 8, Vancouver Mall 23, Cedar Hills, Clackamas, Cornelius, Eastport, Oak Grove, Bridgeport, Cascade, Cinema 99, City Center, Division, Evergreen Parkway, Fox Tower, Scappoose.
Never judge a book by its cover. Bombshell might seem an explosive drama for the #MeToo era, but it actually provides a comedic take on a touchy subject: the downfall of former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes (John Lithgow). There's nothing funny about sexual harassment at the conservative cable channel, or women's struggles to advance their careers there. But director Jay Roach does a pretty good job of blending satirical and serious tones, which manages to humanize the victims but at times turns them into cartoons. All of the leads disappear into their roles, including Nicole Kidman as former anchor Gretchen Carlson and Margot Robbie as the fictionalized Kayla Pospisil. But Charlize Theron truly becomes Megyn Kelly, another anchor who ended up infuriating viewers by challenging Donald Trump on his misogyny before the 2016 election. Thanks to Theron's Oscar-worthy performance, Kazuhiro Tsuji's Oscar-worthy makeup design and the vérité-like camera work, it feels as if we are stalking the real Kelly as she wanders through Fox's headquarters. Eventually, she joins Carlson in outing Ailes' behavior, and more women follow in their stiletto footsteps. Yet by the time the movie is over, and Time's Up for Ailes, it's clear Bombshell is more concerned with entertaining the masses than inspiring them. R. ASHER LUBERTO. Dine-In Progress Ridge 13, Vancouver Mall 23, Cedar Hills, Clackamas, Eastport, Living Room, Bridgeport, Cascade, City Center, Evergreen Parkway, Fox Tower.
Divorce is never pretty. But the divorce in Noah Baumbach's film is piercingly beautiful, miraculously moving and richly detailed. This won't come as a surprise to fans of the director's earlier work (Frances Ha, The Meyerowitz Stories, The Squid and the Whale). His movies have made subjects like death and loneliness feel as warm and welcoming as a midnight cuddle. This one is funny, to be sure, yet his script never lets the audience get too comfortable. The first time we see the couple at the center of the story (Adam Driver, Scarlett Johansson), they're in therapy, and as they list all the reasons they fell for each other, you can't help but wonder where the relationship went wrong. What separates this from being another Scenes From a Marriage is that Marriage Story never reveals why the split happened, instead throwing the audience right into a custodial battle over their son. What ensues is a melodrama, graced by Randy Newman's heartbreaking score, with torrents of raw emotion that could only have stemmed from Baumbach's 2010 divorce from actor Jennifer Jason Leigh. The film also benefits from two of the best performances this decade from its leads as well as a minimalist style that makes it seem as if the events were unfolding in real time. The result is timeless. R. ASHER LUBERTO. Cinema 21.